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Designing Household Survey Samples

Practical Guidelines

image of Designing Household Survey Samples
This publication serves as a handbook that includes the main sample survey design issues that can conveniently be referred to by practicing national statisticians, researchers and analysts involved in sample survey work and activities in countries. Methodologically sound techniques that are grounded in statistical theory are used in this handbook, implying the use of probability sampling at each stage of the sample selection process. A well-designed household survey that is properly implemented can generate necessary information of sufficient quality and accuracy with speed and at a relatively low cost. The content of this publication can also be used, as a training guide for introductory courses in sample survey design at various statistical training institutions that offer courses in applied statistics, especially survey methodology.

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Estimation of sampling errors for survey data

The present chapter provides a brief overview of the various methods used for estimating sampling errors for household survey data generated by various sample designs, ranging from standard designs that can be found in any introductory textbook on sampling theory (for example, Cochran (1977)), to more complex designs used for large-scale household surveys. For the standard sample designs, formulae are provided along with numerical examples to illustrate the estimation of sampling errors, the construction of confidence intervals, and the calculation of design effects and effective sample sizes. Sampling error estimation methods for more complex designs are then presented. The merits and demerits of each method are discussed and numerical examples are provided to illustrate the implementation of the procedures. An example is provided, based on data from a real survey, to illustrate the fact that standard statistical software packages underestimate the sampling errors of survey estimates, leading to wrong conclusions about the parameters of interest to the survey. To avoid this problem, the chapter strongly recommends the use of special statistical software packages that take full account of the complex nature of the designs commonly used for household surveys. Several of these software packages are described and compared.

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